for thousands of hours in every spare minute, favoring his high school bathroom for
its resonance, the one thing that made this
Silvertone sound acceptable.
Gibson L- 10
While he was from rural East Tennessee,
Chet did enjoy one rather remarkable and
fortuitous connection in the music business.
His older half-brother Jim played guitar
and wound up in the Les Paul Trio on the
famous Fred Waring radio show out of New
York. Jim acquired this Gibson L- 10 from
Les Paul, who’d custom ordered the extended
fretboard. “When (Jim) saw how much
I liked it, he surprised me by giving it to
me,” wrote Chet in his memoir, Me and My
Guitars. “Riding back to Knoxville on the
train, I was so happy I didn’t know what to
do. Every little while I would open the case
just to look at that guitar. I loved the way it
looked and the way it smelled.”
As he would with nearly every guitar
he’d own, Chet modified this instrument,
… fit for the demands of the present and the future of amplification.
Jeff Loomis – Photo: Simona Bezdekova
Launched more than twenty
years ago, the Savage 120 was
touted as “innovative,”
“dependable” and “tonally
unique.” Two decades later,
those raves still hold true.
The Savage 120 melds
tradition with modernity.
Why change a good thing?
installing a Vibrola tailpiece and a floating
DeArmond pickup. The former gave him
the tremulous vibrato effect that earned
him the “talking guitar” tagline, and the
latter gave him the volume and nuanced
control he’d been looking for. Chet’s first
serious radio work and his earliest recordings were made on the L- 10.
Sadly, the promising career of this
young guitar was cut short when Chet,
standing on a chair to reach a radio
microphone that nobody could be bothered to lower, slipped and fell. He did a
chest-plant on the guitar, severely damaging the body. It was repaired but never
the same, Chet said. He moved on to a
Gibson L- 7 with P- 90 pickups, which he
installed himself. It was the most invasive
surgery he’d done yet on a fine instrument, and a learning experience that set
him up for his most audacious act of
myspace.com/englamps · www.engl-amps.com
If a lesser player had tricked out a guitar
this elegant and exotic this way, folks
would have chided him for having more
money than sense. Even Chet acknowledged that his friends must have thought